It should be fairly apparent that your approach to email marketing should only involve sending e-mails to individuals who have signed up or opt in to receive them. This might be done as a sign up on your website to receive your newsletter, an autoresponder series, or some other type of information. Avoid any temptation to send unsolicited emails under any circumstances. I know I probably don’t have to say that, but just in case.
The process of getting people to sign up to receive your emails can be accomplished in different ways. The simplest way is known as “opt in” or “single opt in.” This is where you add the e-mail address to your list after someone enters their address on your sign-up form. You may decide to send a “welcome” or “thank you” e-mail to that person as soon as they sign up. This e-mail will likely contain instructions and a link for unsubscribing, and the subscriber will begin receiving your e-mails without having to take any additional action.
The other common technique is known as a “confirmed” or “double opt in” sign up. With this method, as soon as an individual submits their e-mail address in your form, you send back an automated response that asks them to click a link to confirm their subscription. If the individual does not click the confirmation link, then they will not be added to your e-mail list.
Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages.
• This is by far the simplest for prospective subscribers; they provide their e-mail address once and then they’re done.
• You can begin sending your messages to new subscribers right away; there’s no need to wait for them to click a link in a confirmation e-mail.
• This method does not confirm that a particular email address was actually submitted by the person who owns it. Sometimes people make mistakes or write in bad addresses and you definitely don’t want to email those addresses.
• A competitor or someone else who wants to harm your business can submit third party email addresses, and those individuals could complain that they never signed up for your mailings – and get you blacklisted with spam services.
Confirmed or Double Opt-In
• An individual who takes the extra step of clicking the confirmation or double opt in link is likely to be more interested in your marketing message than someone who fails to make the confirmation.
• It protects you from sending email to the wrong addresses or addresses that simply do not exist.
• If you’ve never sent e-mail to a particular individual before, your confirmation or double opt in follow-up could easily be routed to their junk folder. Unless they happen to check it and notice your e-mail, they may never get the opportunity to confirm their scripture.
• Some people might simply be too lazy to actually click on your confirmation link.
What's the Right Way?
In summary, it’s far from a clear choice on whether you should use a double opt-in method to build your mailing list. The best approach may be to analyze the sign-up, confirmation and conversion rates for whatever method you’re currently using, and use those numbers to help you decide whether a different approach may be more effective.
The same considerations apply even if you’re setting up your very first mailing list, which we’ll discuss in the next post. We’ll go through the first steps you need to do, so you’re well on your way to using the power of email marketing.